Present Tense Fitness
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Dance and Sports Performance

Strength training and conditioning approaches for dancers

Posts tagged spinal extension
Spinal Extension: Strategies and Pitfalls

Cat/cow is a classic yoga movement wherein a person moves through spinal flexion (think of an angry or scared cat) and spinal extension (belly hangs low, like a cow). Hypermobile people who are attracted to things like yoga and ballet can easily get into impressive-looking cat/cow postures. But the problem is, they almost certainly shouldn’t be trying to exploit all of that range of motion on a yoga mat. Understand the distinction I’m making here: onstage, dancers need to do what they need to do. But in a yoga studio or strength training facility or on a Pilates reformer, their coach or teacher needs to make sure that they are staying within a safe range of motion.

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The Lats: A Primer for Dancers

Strong lats are critical for any athletic movement, in other words, so it’s important that we understand the interplay between them and posture, injury prevention, and performance. When we consider how often dancers are in spinal extension—think arabesque or the standing posture we often associate with ballerinas—then we begin to understand the delicate balance between latissimus dorsi strength and latissimus dorsi mobility.

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